Saturday, July 04, 2009


I've changed my mind completely. Not only am I going to continue blogging, I am relaunching the blog as Shooflypie Season 3. Please join me over there and see if I can actually produce.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I am hanging up the blogging hat again and I won't be picking it up for the next 6 months minimum. It is part of a number of changes I am making to try and open myself up to creative ventures - I haven't written a new song this year and only 1 in the last year total. I've still never given myself a chance to write and I want to do it. I'm shutting down my file at the comics shop as well; I'm not giving up comics, just sticking to trades and not pre-ordering (hard to budget that way). I'm thinking about ditching Twitter for a while as well and cutting down on my feeds on my Google Reader. I need to change the way I go about things for a while and see what happens. Doesn't mean I'll never do these things again; it's what I need to do to try and activate dreams that go back to my childhood.

See you in 2010...or not.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I spent most of the day at a picnic as part of a celebration of my 20th high school reunion. It was a blast but it's late, so here comes the music...

1. Major Label Debut (Fast)/Broken Social Scene (2)
2. All I Need Is Y0u/Portastatic (7)
3. The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!)/The Decemberists (5)
4. Black Eyed Suzy/Justin Townes Earle (4)
5. Cocoon/The Decemberists (5)
6. Better Dead Than Lead/Ted Leo & The Pharmacists (2)
7. Andiamo/The Twilight Singers (12)
8. Priest's Knees/Destroyer (12)
9. Singer Castle Bells/Great Lake Swimmers (5)
10. Disappear/Crooked Fingers (3)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I've mentioned on more than one occasion that I've gone back and forth on the issue of whether I should buy comics in single format at all. There have been periods where I've bought only trades and periods where I've bought a few monthlies as well. Those latter times usually last 6 to 8 months before I give it all up and go back to trades. Well, I'm determined to try to find a way for me to buy and read both, even buying some things in singles format that I may want to buy in collected form later. Yes, it's all very complicated or at least I make it that way. Getting to the point, I bought a couple comics two Wednesdays ago that remind me why I do like to read things is serialized format.

I bought the new series of Booster Gold when it started up in 2007. I'd always liked the character and I found the book to be highly entertaining but ended up losing touch in the last swing back to trades. The series is now in the hands of Dan Jurgens, who originally created Booster and made the first series such a favorite of mine that I talked about it in a speech my freshman year of high school (in 1986).

I picked up #21 of the current series for 2 reasons. First, the cover promised Booster tangling with Batman (whose cape is now being filled by Dick Grayson, the first Robin, due to Bruce Wayne's death). Second, the series is now carrying a second feature - Blue Beetle. DC is adding 10 page co-features to a number of its comics as a way of justifying higher prices ($3.99 per issue on selected titles). It's pricey but in this instance, the comic was worth it.

The lead feature is the first of the four-part "Day of Death" storyline. Booster is big-time hero but he has to pretend he is an ineffectual glory hound in order to keep secret his status as a time-traveler. He is working with Rip Hunter, who seems to be up to something as the issue opens. Sure, it looks like he is looking for a chink in the Black Beetle's armor but Booster isn't sure he can be fully trusted. Rip sends Booster to the Batcave, because there are some pictures there that reveal the truth about Booster (Batman was the only one aware of Booster's mission but Batman isn't exactly Batman anymore). Booster decides to trust Dick with the secret (that he tried to save Barbara Gordon from being shot; Dick is very close to Barbara) when the Black Beetle shows up and decides to change the timeline. At the end, it appears he has succeeding in killing Dick in the past. I'm interested to see where the story goes from here.
I read the first issue or three of the Blue Beetle series when it first came out but quickly lost track. I've found the character to be a lot of fun on the Batman: Brave and the Bold TV show and welcomed the chance to check in the character in the comics realm. Plus, writer Matt Sturges is someone I like (I read his novel Midwinter a few months back and have enjoyed his work on Jack of Fables, though I'm woefully behind on that series) and artist Mike Norton always turns out quality work. Well, there was plenty to like. Most especially, a giant yellow robot named Thinko! that Beetle had to battle. A fun comic.
Two good stories in one comic book? That's the way it should be. I will definitely be back for the next issue.

On the other end of the spectrum is the latest series from Vertigo, The Unwritten. This is a creator-owned series from Mike Carey and Peter Gross (such an underrated artist) and the first issue was over-sized and priced at $1. How can you resist that? I didn't and while I liked the issue well enough, the series really takes off with #2. The book is the story of Tom Taylor, the inspiration for a series of Harry Potter-like novels by his father. But it turns out he might not be Wilson Taylor's son after all. The series is steeped in fiction; Tom knows geography by way of fiction, though he hasn't read the books. There are forces skulking about, including a man who creates a cell phone through letters and then let's it dissolve back into the same. And what is the deal with Lizzie Hexam? Is she more than the protagonist of Dickens' Our Mutual Friend? I can't wait to see where this series goes and I'm not going to wait for trades either. How's that for an endorsement?

Happy Father's Day to those of you who may be reading. I'm going to spend the day doing a lot of chores, watching baseball, and reading (Infinite Summer starts today). But first, we're going to see what pops up on iTunes...

1. Market Girl/Headlights (7)
2. Alphabet Pony/The Kills (4)
3. It's Me/Dinosaur Jr. (14)
4. Puncture Repair/Elbow (19)
5. Learo, You're a Hole/Archers of Loaf (10)
6. Keep A Friend/Dr. Dog (6)
7. What Do You Look Forward To?/Superchunk (14)
8. Wine, Women, and Song/Harvey Danger (35)
9. Un Dernier Verre (Pour La Route)/Beirut (3)
10. Another Radio Song/Okkervil River (7)

Monday, June 15, 2009


I've been reading Asimov's for many years now. I believe I started around 1993 or 1994 and at some point not too long after I dropped my subscription for a year or so before picking back up and reading it continuously ever since. The magazine has introduced me to a bunch of writers I love, including James Patrick Kelly. The June 2009 issue has a bit of a tribute to Kelly, as it marks the 25th anniversary of his first June issue story. That's right, he has had a story in the June issue every year since 1994, for a total of 26 stories. It's quite a feat.

Taking a look at the bibliography on Kelly's website, the first of the June stories that I remember reading for sure is "Breakaway, Backdown" from 1996 (guess I've been reading consistently at least that long and I don't recall reading "Think Like a Dinsosaur" from the June 1995 issue, though I've since read it). I also remember wanting to talk to people about it at the time but none of my friends (internet or otherwise) were reading Asimov's. Unfortunately, I don't recall what the story was about, only my enthusiasm for it.

Over the years, I've come to anticpate Kelly's June appearances. I know I'm going to get a story I like and I know the stories aren't necessarily going to be similar. He doesn't have a partiuclar style other than clear writing, a willingness to experiment with ideas big or small, and characters you can care about. From recent years, "Men Are Trouble" (2004) and "The Leila Torn Show" (2006) are particular standouts.

Kelly has three story collections that have been published by Golden Gryphon - Think Like a Dinosaur and Other Stories, Strange But Not a Stranger, and The Wreck of the Godpseed (which came out late last year). I'm a big fan of Golden Gryphon and have always meant to pick up the collections...but have never gotten around to it. Well, there is a 2-for-1 sale going on right now and with Father's Day coming up this weekend, I think I'm going to make a request for a present. That means I'll probably be talking about his work more on the blog as the months roll by.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention this year's story, "Going Deep." It's the story of Mariska, a 13 year-old clone of a spacer, who has an adopted father, an upcoming arranged marriage, and ambivalent thoughts about her predetermined life. She reaches a decision that she knows isn't the best but it ends up working out in the end. While it's not my favorite Kelly story, it's definitely worth reading.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I feel like the universe is telling me to read Charles Dickens and not just one book either. No, his total output. I'm not sure why this is happening either. The notion popped into my head a week or so ago and since then I've seen references to Dickens here and there in my life. It's not a project I'm going to undertake right now, especially with my reading of Infinite Jest scheduled to start in a week. Once that project is over, I'll already have been in an English class for a few weeks and will have a bunch of reading to do there, I'm sure. It remains to be seen if the idea keeps afloat in the back of my brain - if that's the case, I'll probably have to do something about it.

I did just finish my 16th book of the year, Stalking the Unicorn by Mike Resnick. Originally published in 1987, it was just reissued last year by Pyr along with a sequel, Stalking the Vampire (which I also have out from the library). John Justin Mallory is a detective in Manhattan who is drunk on New Year's Eve. He is hired by an elf to recover a unicorn, which takes him to another Manhattan where such creatures life, along with leprechauns, demons, Gnomes of the Subway, goblins, trolls, and magic doesn't exist (what you think is magic is just science you don't know). Over the course of the novel, Mallory learns about the world and makes a few big decisions about his own. It's a fun book. I've been trying to decide if I should plow straight into the next book or read something in between, just because. We'll see.

This week I also read the April/May issue of F&SF. It is the first of the new bigger-sized bi-monthly issues but the only real changes are just those two things. F&SF is always dependable and if this issue didn't have any particular standouts, it also didn't have any stories that weren't worth reading. I call that a win.

It looks like we might get two nice days out of the last three today; it would be nice if summer finally showed up. It would also be nice if I could stop going around and around in my head about the blog...we'll see if I put up some posts this week. Anyway, how about some music?

1. Ashes of American Flags (engineer demo)/Wilco (2)
2. I Feel Better/Frightened Rabbit (14)
3. Song for Myla Goldberg/The Decemberists (11)
4. No Dreams/Oakley Hall (8)
5. It's Not the End of the World/Sloan (17)
6. Almost Over/Elliott Smith (8)
7. The Lines You Amend/Sloan (13)
8. Guyamas Sonora/Beirut (5)
9. Ada/The National (17)
10. Down in the Valley/The Broken West (21)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


I have committed to a summer project - along with a couple thousand other people, I am going to be reading David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. The reading group is called Infinite Summer and the goal is to read the book over the course of the summer, June 21 to Sept. 22. The book is over 1000 pages long with a ridiculous amount of endnotes, so you need to average about 75 pages a week. That's doable.

When I was younger, it was a badge of honor to read books that were 500 pages or more; I would even reject books that were under 300 pages as not being worth my time. Obviously, I don't feel that way anymore but I still do like the challenge of a big book. Plus, I've been interested in reading Infinite Jest for years and this is a good way to finally do it.

I'm not a reader who usually reads multiple books at the same time, so this will be an interesting experiment in that regard as well. I plan on posting about what I read each week and will try to keep up with the discussion over at the website. I finally start taking an English class this fall, so this will be a good kickstart for that as well.

If anyone else is going to do it, let me know!